SHOWS: DUBLIN, IRELAND (APRIL 22, 2020) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL)
1. (SOUNDBITE) (English) EUROPEAN RYDER CUP CAPTAIN, PADRAIG HARRINGTON, SAYING ON RYDER CUP BEHIND CLOSED DOORS:
"Well, talking to everybody, nobody wants that to happen. Everybody wants it to be a normal Ryder Cup but that may not be possible. The players certainly - we play for the joy of the match, for the competition and very much part of that is the spectators. I know all my friends who watch, and even my non-golfing friends, they watch it because of the atmosphere. Nobody wants it to happen without spectators. They (organisers) are very aware of that. They really are aware of that. But they're not going to commit to anything as of yet. They're going to examine all the possibilities. So, they're not just throwing out there and there's no point in committing four months in advance to that because we don't know what's going to happen. We don't know how successful the PGA Tour's tournaments without spectators are going to be. Their first four events starting in June have no spectators. So, just wait and see."
2. WHITE FLASH
3. (SOUNDBITE) (English) EUROPEAN RYDER CUP CAPTAIN PADRAIG HARRINGTON SAYING ON DISCUSSIONS WITH OTHER PLAYERS AND HIS AMERICAN COUNTERPART:
"I've been discussing it with officials in Europe, the U.S., -- Not directly with Steve (Stricker), but with Steve in terms of who he's talking through, and obviously European players. I haven't been discussing it with the U.S. players! But I think the common consensus is none of the players (want it). It would be to the European advantage, obviously, if there were no spectators allowed. It'd be to our advantage that they wouldn't have that home advantage. But it's too big a match. It's too important. Nobody wants it that way. But as I said, it's one of those things - there's no point calling it and then putting yourself on the spot and then having to change their mind. We've got to wait for a little bit of time. But for sure nobody wants it without spectators."
4. WHITE FLASH
5. (SOUNDBITE) (English) EUROPEAN RYDER CUP CAPTAIN, PADRAIG HARRINGTON, SAYING ON QUALIFICATION PROCESS BEING UNFAIR AND BEING FORCED TO NAME ALL 12 OF HIS SIDE AS CAPTAIN'S PICKS:
"I'm going to give an exclusive here - no model had me giving 12 captain's picks! There's no need to go to a model like that. The model would involve world rankings 100% because they haven't been changed. Depending on how many tournaments we can play, it would vary from having the standard three picks and normal qualification. Down to extra picks, yeah, sometimes, but not exceptional changes. It wouldn't look too outrageous and it'll be reasonably fair from all the models that we looked at had both rankings in it still. And no 12 man pick, no."
6. (SOUNDBITE) (English) EUROPEAN RYDER CUP CAPTAIN, PADRAIG HARRINGTON, SAYING:
"I've just had a horrible thought. About two months ago, Rory was playing so well. I was like 'wow, Rory's really on form... I'd just like to wrap him in a cotton wool for about six months and have him ready for Ryder Cup'. I'm sorry I didn't mean it! I'd be happy to have him play some golf for the next six months and be burned out for Ryder Cup at this stage. But yeah - be careful what you wish for! But look I have some really nice players in good form. When I sit down and look at the players who are likely to qualify, the players on that list, I'm very happy with them. I'm happy with my rookies especially."
STORY: The decision on whether to hold the Ryder Cup without fans at the course is in the hands of the organisers, but the players do not want the biennial competition to take place with empty galleries, Europe captain Padraig Harrington said.
The golf calendar has been massively disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic but the Ryder Cup is clinging to its scheduled start in Whistling Straits, Wisconsin from Sept. 25-27.
The U.S. PGA and European Tours are suspended, three of the year's four majors have been rescheduled and the British Open has been cancelled.
PGA of America chief Seth Waugh has said the Ryder Cup may have to be played without fans, but raucous galleries are one of the things that make the clash between the United States and Europe stand out from regular tour events.
"Nobody wants it to happen without spectators," three-times major champion Harrington told Reuters.
Other than in wartime, the only occasion the Ryder Cup has been postponed was when the 2001 event in England was delayed for a year following the September 11 attacks in New York and Washington.
In the meantime, preparations for Europe's title defence are in full swing, and Harrington's priority is drawing up a fair blueprint for qualification given the number of events that have been called off due to the coronavirus.
Team Europe was set to include the top four on the European Tour list, the leading five on the world points list and three captain's picks, but that could now change.
(Production: Kurt Michael Hall, Iain Axon)